Tennis means something different to everyone. For some, it’s simply a fun game to play. For others, it’s about family, opportunity, or growth. People around the game speak of it teaching life skills, teamwork, leadership and toughness.
Tennis also provides an opportunity to give back to our nation’s heroes: the military.
Throughout the country, teams, organizations and individuals are participating in the USTA Adopt-A-Unit effort, which is designed to guide tennis organizations and players to ‘adopt’ a military unit of anywhere between 25-100 service members deployed to Afghanistan, by sending care packages of necessities. In turn, USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, sends portable tennis equipment to the adopted unit on your behalf with instructions and educational information on tennis.
The effort allows the tennis community to show support, and to introduce soldiers to a recreational means for reintegrating with family, friends and community upon their return from conflict.
Adopt-A-Unit had a strong response from the start, and last fall, a group of high school girls from the Lancaster-Lebanon League became the first high school tennis league to get involved, making goodie bags for a Pennsylvania unit stationed in Afghanistan. To supplement the bags, the USTA shipped portable tennis equipment to troops overseas.
There are plenty of additional opportunities through USTA Military Outreach, including specialized Play Days, tournaments, partnerships, grants, and more. Over the summer, Middle States worked with Camp Colwell in Bethany Beach, Del. to bring tennis to the kids of those serving in the Delaware National Guard.
It’s never easy to tell just how to give back. But through a variety of channels, the opportunities are out there to salute our troops and give thanks.